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Forced Labor

(1,842 words)

Author(s): Hinz, Uta
Forced Labor It is entirely possible to see the development of state-organized forced labor in Germany between 1914 and 1918 as a kind of “trial run” for the Second World War (Ulrich Herbert). It is necessary first of all to distinguish between legitimate military forms of forced labor (in accordance with the laws of war as they stood at the time, for prisoners of war) and forced labor for civilians. The latter affected many civilians forced to work in Germany, and transported to Germany in breach of international law for that purpose. The use of the labor of captured ordinary soldiers…

Famine

(1,380 words)

Author(s): Corni, Gustavo
Famine The long duration of the war, reciprocal blockades of food imports, and the exploitation of regions occupied by the Central Powers all caused occasional dramatic occurrences of famine in the World War. In the German Reich and Austria especially, the food situation during the second half of the war was appalling. In Germany, the lack of planning to maintain the food supply in case of war was partly the blame for the quantitative and qualitative decline in the diet of a majority of the German civilian population. The weekly flour ration fell…

Animals

(1,008 words)

Author(s): Werth, German
Animals The use of animals for war service is known from antiquity. Elephants, bears, or packs of bloodhounds were used to break open enemy lines. Clay balls containing poisonous snakes were used as projectiles. Most often used as “war equipment” was the horse, in a team to pull combat vehicles and naturally, as a mount for a rider. Surprisingly, it was not during the First World War – in which mechanization was at first of less significance – but during the Second World War that the use of horses was comparatively greater. Despite being engaged in pos…

Falkenhausen, Ludwig Alexander Baron von

(303 words)

Author(s): Afflerbach, Holger
Falkenhausen, Ludwig Alexander Baron von (September 13, 1844, Guben – May 4, 1936, Görlitz), German general. Falkenhausen had been a soldier since 1862, and had taken part in the wars of 1866 and 1870/1871. As commanding general of the XIIIth Army Corps, he had been placed on the inactive list in 1902. Recalled to active service at his own request in 1914, onSeptember 15 he took over command of the Falkenhausen Division (from April 1916 Army Division A) that, after the end of the border engagements b…

Fourteen Points

(899 words)

Author(s): Waechter, Matthias
Fourteen Points Fourteen Points stands for the peace aims of American President Woodrow Wilson, who made them public in a speech before the United States Congress on January 8, 1918. The basic reasons for American participation in the war were already clear. To justify America’s joining the war in April 1917, Wilson stressed that the United States was not interested in realizing any narrowly defined national demands. Rather, he meant to for liberal political principles to be implemented globally, …

Rainbow Books

(583 words)

Author(s): Zala, Sacha
Rainbow Books Official printed texts or collections of diplomatic documents, appearing on an ad hoc basis treating primarily questions of foreign policy. A government published “rainbow books,” frequently during or after an international crisis, in order to inform its parliament and/or public, to legitimize its own policy, and/or to criticize the policy of a foreign state. The books owe their name to the colors of their bindings, used on a consistent basis by the various governments: Great Britain blue; Germa…

Big Bertha

(279 words)

Author(s): Gross, Gerhard P.
Big Bertha Name popularly given to the 42-cm mortar on a wheeled carriage developed by the Krupp Company, and named after the eldest daughter of Friedrich Alfred Krupp. Commissioned by the Prussian general staff as a howitzer with the aim of destroying the modern fortifications located in Belgium and France along the line of the planned Prussian advance. In 1909 Krupp proposed the 42-cm short naval cannon 12/16, with the cover-name Gamma Device, often also referred to as dicke Bertha (BB). This platform gun was transported by rail and fired 930-kg shells up to a distance o…

Military Losses (Casualties)

(1,331 words)

Author(s): Overmans, Rüdiger
Military Losses (Casualties) There is little agreement in the literature as to the casualties sustained by the states that took part in the First World War. Figures vary between about 6 and about 13 million. A princi…

Kollwitz, Käthe

(405 words)

Author(s): Jürgens-Kirchhoff, Annegret
Kollwitz, Käthe (July 8, 1867, Königsberg [Prussia] – April 22, 1945, Moritzburg [near Dresden]), German graphic artist, painter, and sculptor. The artist preoccupied herself with the World War for many years on end. War in itself was not a new theme for her; as early as 1897/1898, Kollwitz had already delved into the subject in the graphic cycle Ein Weberaufstand ( The Revolt of the Weavers, 1897/1898) and in a series of etchings entitled Bauernkrieg ( The Peasants’ War

Occupation (West)

(1,527 words)

Author(s): Kramer, Alan
Occupation (West) O…

Netherlands

(1,981 words)

Author(s): Blom, J.C.H.
Netherlands On the eve of the World War, the Netherlands held the same neutral stand regarding international relations as it had for the preceding three-quarters of a century. The Netherlands thus stood apart from the international alliances. This decision rested as much upon the safeguarding of Netherlands’s economic and military-political interests, as it did upon considerations of civil rights and ethics. The deciding question, however, was whether the Great Powers would respect Netherlands’s …

Pan-German League

(886 words)

Author(s): Hagenlücke, Heinz
Pan-German League Radical nationalistic organization in Germany. The Pan-German League (Alldeutscher Verband, ADV) was founded in Berlin in April 1891 and (until 1894) operated under the name Allgemeiner Deutscher Verband (“General German Association”). It was formed as a non-party organization on the initiative of a small circle of activists that included representatives from the community of “ethnic Germans” living outside of the German Empire ( Volksdeutsche), several colonial propagandists with ties to Carl Peters, and Alfred Hugenberg, who was still a young law student at the time. Along with a demand for t…

War Aims

(1,667 words)

Author(s): Mommsen, Wolfgang J.
War Aims Prior to the outbreak of the war, none of the European Powers had pursued concrete territorial annexation aims that might have significantly influenced their decision to take up arms. Soon after the beginning of the war, however, the issue of war aims began to be debated in all countries, at first mostly behind closed doors. The British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey was able to prevent a public discussion of British war aims. Great Britain was quite resolute in its demand that the ind…

War Damage

(2,196 words)

Author(s): Thoss, Bruno
War Damage Damages and costs incurred during the war through the destruction of military equipment and weaponry, but also as a consequence of property damage in the regions directly affected by the war. War damage thus refers to the material costs of the war in the narrow sense. The calculation of war costs in the wider sense as well as of material losses in the narrow sense is so fraught with difficulties that all figures can only be seen as rough approximations. This already became evident during a first general assessment carried out for t…

Mercier, Désiré Joseph

(324 words)

Author(s): Roolf, Christoph
Mercier, Désiré Joseph (November 21, 1851, Eigenbrakel [Braine-l’Alleud near Brussels] – January 23, 1926, Brussels), Belgian cardinal. Ordained as a priest in 1874, Mercier was a highly successful teacher of philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of Louvain from 1882. In 1906 he became archbishop of the largest Belgian diocese of Mechelen, and was made a cardinal in 1907. With the outbreak of war in 1914, after the occupation of the country and the flight of King Albert I and the Belgi…

1917: Deserters, Politics and Religion

(7,172 words)

Author(s): Wolf, Susanne
Wolf, Susanne - 1917: Deserters, Politics and Religion Keywords: Belgium | churches | …

Occupation (East)

(1,730 words)

Author(s): Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel
Occupation (East) In 1915, the German Reich and Austria-Hungary conquered enormous areas of Eastern Europe, and subjected them to an occupation regime. Among the areas in question were Russian Poland and Lithuania, and parts of the Baltic provinces (now Estonia and Latvia), Belarus (White Russia), the Ukraine, Russia, and Serbia. These conquests were joined by Romania in 1916.…

Liaisons not so Dangerous: First World War Liaison Officers and Marshal Ferdinand Foch

(9,133 words)

Author(s): Greenhalgh, Elizabeth
Greenhalgh, Elizabeth - Liaisons not so Dangerous: First World War Liaison Officers and Marshal Ferdinand Foch …

Luxembourg

(1,322 words)

Author(s): Majerus, Benoît
Luxembourg The First World War scarcely has a presence in the collective memory of Luxembourgers, and the country’s historians have until now shown little interest in the period. Luxembourg’s entry into the Zollverein (German Customs Union, 1842) engendered very close economic links between the Grand Duchy and the neighboring German territories. Luxembourg’s railways passed into German Reich ownership in 1872, and the rise of the iron industry was facilitated by both German capital (e.g. Gelsenkirchener Bergwerk AG) and German workers (more than half the foreigners livi…

July Crisis

(720 words)

Author(s): Krumeich, Gerd
July Crisis Few topics from the history of the First World War have been discussed more intensively by historians and in the public arena than the July Crisis of 1914. Into the 1930s in Germany, the foremost question was that of the justice of the accusation of “war guilt” as expressed in Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty. In this case the predominant opinion initially, and even after the Second World War, was that all the powers “stumbled” into war. In the 1960s, Fritz Fischer brought to the c…
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